George Kittle acknowledges that it takes time for an NFL team to get into a rhythm. With the exception of the 2019 season when the San Francisco 49ers started 8-0, that has been the case for most of the tight end’s career. Look back to last year when the 49ers started 3-5 and rode a second half to qualify for the playoffs and reach the NFC title game.
Kittle thinks the 49ers are figuring things out now. After starting 3-4, they’ve won in a row, and many feel they’re trending higher, especially after trading for running back Christian McCaffrey.
“We got into a rhythm,” Kittle told Ray Ratto and Whitey Gleason of 95.7 The Game on Wednesday. “Guys have figured out what their roles are, and guys are starting to play. They don’t overthink as much, and they just go out and perform at a high level.”
The 49ers currently sit seventh and last in the NFC playoff standings. They are looking to extend their winning streak and overtake the NFC West leaders Seattle Seahawks. Most expect this to happen.
Kittle and the 49ers aren’t looking at the scoreboard yet. They know there are plenty of games left and all they can do is focus on the task at hand. This week, that task is a game against the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.
“If we do what we have to do and what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be where we want to be, come playoff time,” Kittle said.
The tight end has noticed an improvement over the past few weeks, which could explain the recent success. After a few early meltdowns in games the 49ers felt they should have won, a sense of urgency arose.
“What I will say is I just feel like our last two to three weeks of training, I think we just felt so much cleaner,” Kittle explained. “I think the guys have figured out what their role is, what we need to do in the racing game. The sense of urgency, I think it’s just really picked up. … Our sense of urgency just increased , and I think that’s what you really need.
“It takes a while for young people to figure that out. It takes a while for guys who come from different teams to see that because I think the way we train and the way we do things as 49ers and [in] our organization is a little different from most other places.”
Kittle has noticed a different energy during recent practices. The players are more disciplined in all aspects of the game. They hope that continues this week. The 49ers are in Colorado Springs, just south of Denver, trying to acclimate to the altitude in preparation for Monday night’s game against the Cardinals.
“We’re just going to keep trying to build on that on a daily basis,” Kittle added. “…While our goal is obviously to win a Super Bowl, our entire focus this week is being in Colorado and playing Monday Night Football in front of the best fans in the world – 49ers fans – against the Cardinals of Arizona.”
Make the McCaffrey trade exist
Kittle is ready to take his share of the credit for the addition of McCaffrey. The tight end was asked about his first reaction to learning that the 49ers had traded for the star running back.
“I’ve been talking about this for about two years,” Kittle explained. “Me and Christian have been really good friends for a while, but I convinced him, ‘Hey, we just need to get you into our running game, and I promise you, you’re having a really good time.’
“When it finally happened, I was playing video games with some of my buddies who are on other teams, and one of them is like, ‘Hey, you just traded against Christian McCaffrey.’ I almost threw my controller through my screen, called it right away.
“It’s very exciting. Christian is a hell of a player, All-Pro in two different positions in one year. It’s pretty awesome. He’s a phenomenal football player. He’s an amazing human being. He’s awesome for our dressing room. And I just think the more he’s in our system, the more he’s going to understand, the more it’s going to click for him. I think he’s going to be able to produce at a very, very high rate for us.
Kittle shared that he had wished for other things to exist, hinting that this could be his superpower.
“Somehow I convinced my wife to marry me,” Kittle said. “I wanted it the first time I saw her when I was 18. So I’m doing a great job there. We just celebrated our third anniversary and we’ve been together for over 10 years, so I wanted this one in .”
Kittle added: “Any other crazy stuff? I’ll have to tell you about that, but the Christian McCaffrey thing was definitely one of my best accomplishments, I’ll say. So you’re welcome.”
You can listen to Kittle’s full interview below.
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